Poll shows Obama leads in 3 key swing states

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is favored by at least 50 percent of likely voters in both Virginia and Wisconsin, and leads by 1 point over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Colorado, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac University survey showed an improvement for the president in all three swing states over similar polls taken last month before the national party conventions.

The poll gave Obama a 50 percent to 46 percent lead in Virginia and a 51 percent to 45 percent edge in Wisconsin, home state of the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan. Obama led Romney in Virginia, 49 percent to 45 percent, and in Wisconsin, 49 percent to 47 percent, in the surveys released in August.

In Colorado, Obama led Romney, 48 percent to 47 percent, within the margin of error, after trailing, 50 percent to 45 percent, last month.

“All the bounces seem to be over as the candidates buckle down for a seven-week down-to-the-wire race to the finish,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling institute in Hamden, Conn. While Romney has lost ground, “the races are close,” Brown said.

Several polls have shown Obama with a lead over Romney since the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., in August, and the Democratic gathering in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this month.

A Sept. 12-16 NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Tuesday showed Obama leading Romney among likely voters, 50 percent to 45 percent, and a Washington Post poll gave Obama an 8-percentage-point lead in Virginia, 52 percent to 44 percent, among likely voters.

A Sept. 11-17 USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,096 registered voters in the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, put Obama ahead, 48 percent to 46 percent. That is within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Even before videotaped comments to donors were released showing Romney appearing to dismiss 47 percent of Americans as government-dependent “victims,” the CBS/Times survey showed Obama with wide leads among voters on the question of which candidate cared about their needs and problems.

In the Quinnipiac survey, 55 percent of Colorado voters said Obama cared and 50 percent said Romney didn’t, 59 percent of Virginians said Obama cared and 50 percent said Romney didn’t, and 60 percent of those polled in Wisconsin said Obama cared while 51 percent said Romney didn’t care.

“President Obama has an edge over Governor Romney on who can best handle a variety of issues — health care, Medicare, national security and women’s reproductive rights,” Brown said. “But on the number one issue to voters, the economy, the two are pretty much tied in the three states. On the topical question, given events in the Middle East, of who can best handle an international crisis, the president enjoys double-digit leads.”

Among women, Obama led, 52 percent to 43 percent, in Colorado; 54 percent to 42 percent in Virginia; and 55 percent to 42 percent in Wisconsin.

Romney was ahead, 52 percent to 43 percent, among men in Colorado; 51 percent to 45 percent in Virginia; and 49 percent to 47 percent in Wisconsin.

In Colorado, Obama led among independent voters, 47 percent to 46 percent, while Romney led in Virginia, 53 percent to 42 percent, and in Wisconsin, 50 percent to 44 percent.

Romney got an edge in Colorado on handling the economy, 48 percent to 47 percent, though likely voters chose Obama in Virginia, 49 percent to 47 percent, and in Wisconsin, 49 percent to 46 percent.

The survey was taken Sept. 11-17 of 1,497 likely voters in Colorado with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 1,474 likely voters in Virginia with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, and 1,485 likely voters in Wisconsin with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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